Parents pay tuition thinking the money will further their child’s education–not kill their child.
A University of Georgia student died in a car accident in April during a fraternity “road trip” in which a blindfolded member drove back to campus. The student was found with his hands handcuffed to the steering wheel. Before officials arrived, the two other cars in the caravan left the scene of the accident.
A freshman at Iona College died of alcohol poisoning last year on the last night of the pledge period of Sigma Tau Omega, a fraternity banned by the college in the 1980s for hazing.
Two years ago, a Southeast Missouri State University student died from head injuries caused by hazing. His fraternity brothers claimed his injuries were from football.
Many universities turn the other way when the issue of hazing arises, claiming “kids will be kids.” Unfortunately, the kids are drinking themselves to death and no one is taking responsibility for it.
Although many universities have banned the ritual, hazing is still a problem on many campuses. If a university bans hazing and fraternities ignore the regulation, then who is responsible when something goes awry? The university.
Hazing involves kidnapping, sleep deprivation, drinking contests and other life-threatening compelled conduct. Not all students who walk away from hazing alive walk away unscathed. Hazing cases have resulted in hospitalization for acute kidney failure, paralysis, alcohol poisoning and severe injuries.
The issue is negligence. In the case of the Iona freshman, the college had revoked the fraternity’s charter, yet the fraternity was able to reestablish itself after disregarding the welfare of its members.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology agreed on Sept 13 to pay $4.72 million in damages to the family of a freshman who died during a fraternity party. MIT also agreed to donate $1.25 million in scholarships to be set up in the student’s name.
Scott Krueger was in his fifth week at MIT when he was found dead in the basement of the Phi Gamma Delta house lying in his vomit. Officials said his blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit.
Krueger’s death was not an isolated incident. It was one of a long line of tragic deaths. According to research done by the Committee Against Hazing, there have been 75 hazing-related deaths in the past 20 years. In the past year, eight of those have been alcohol related.
Alcohol is abundant and easily accessible on campuses and it is up to university officials to monitor activities on school grounds. If a university financially or legally supports an organization, then it has an obligation to ensure the organization’s proper conduct.
More universities should follow MIT’s lead. Parents entrust their children to the care of the university; if a university can’t ensure a safe environment, then it has failed its students.